Monday, April 15, 2024

John Wiswell's Tour Schedule for 2024

Now that my book is out in the world, I have to go follow it!

On this post you'll find every official event and convention I'll be attending this year. I'll add events to this page as contracts are signed. Especially if we're at the same con, please say hi! I love meeting folks and signing books.

You'll notice some events are tagged as (VIRTUAL). These are ones where I'll only be attending online, or that are entirely online events. I'm trying to do at least a few of these to reach readers who live outside of my travel's reach.

 See you out there!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Someone You Can Build A Nest In launches on April 2nd!

My debut novel is extremely nigh! It releases April 2nd in the U.S., and April 11th in the U.K.. In this post, I'll walk you through everything you need to know.

Let's start here: what is Someone You Can Build A Nest In about?

Shesheshen is a shapeshifting monster who lurks in the ruins of an isthmus, fending off monster hunters and other vile humans. After she is poisoned and driven off a cliff, she's rescued by Homily, a bookish and gentle lady who mistakes Shesheshen for a fellow human. Homily nurses her back to health, and Shesheshen is shocked to find herself growing attached. Homily seems to be an outcast like herself. The more they fall in love, the harder it is for Shesheshen to hide her true identity. She has to confess. But just as she's about to come clean, Homily reveals why she's visiting in the isthmus. Homily is hunting a shapeshifting monster. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?
You can read the first chapter for free at Reactor.

The pre-release experience has been overwhelming. I keep getting tagged by readers who got advanced copies and have fallen in love with Shesheshen and Homily. Recently The Library Journal gave Someone You Can Build A Best In a starred review and named it the Debut of the Month for April. Ingram named it one of the three Best of the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books for 2024. Someone You Can Build A Nest In has also graced numerous Most Anticipated Bookslists, including Literary Hub, Apple Books, Polygon, FanFiAdddict, Reactor (A.K.A., and Winter is Coming.

The responses from authors has been amazing, too.

"Someone You Can Build A Nest In is sweetly furious, darkly funny, and gruesomely wholesome. It's a love story for the unloved, a happily-ever-after with a higher-than-average body count. I just adored it."
—Alix E. Harrow, New York Times-bestselling author of Starling House and The Ten Thousand Doors of January

“Surprisingly sweet, unsurprisingly horrific, and entirely humane—only John Wiswell could have written this monster and her book, and I'm so very glad he did.”’
—Arkady Martine, Hugo Award-winning author of A Memory Called Empire

“I love the wonder and the darkly enchanting danger of this story. It makes me think of fairy tales, but John Wiswell understands what so many have forgotten: that true fairy tales are gruesome and magical at the same time, and he nails it here.”
—C.L. Polk, bestselling author of Midnight Bargain and Even Though I Knew the End

“Someone You Can Build a Nest In is the future of fantasy: a fairy tale with boundaries, an
imaginative world created in the shape of collective values rather than the boring old id, a portal to a place you've really never seen before instead of just a princess in a different outfit. This novel is going to change the entire genre.”
—Meg Elison, Hugo and Locus award-winning author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

Pre-orders are available at all major book websites.

Monday, November 20, 2023

All the Short Stories John Wiswell Published in 2023

2023 is ticking down to a close. As I’m wrapping up the final touches on my debut novel, I’m also looking back on all the short fiction I got to share with you folks this year. I got late word from an editor that the final story of mine that *was* going to be published this year will now be coming out next year. Having things wrapped up makes a boy nostalgic.

I'm proud of all my weirdo fictional children. Each story I published this year did something totally different. 

I'm curious, though. Do you, dear reader, have a favorite?

Here are the contenders:

"Bad Doors" at Uncanny Magazine

Everywhere Kosmo goes, a mysterious burgundy door appears, as though stalking him and demanding he open it. He tries to avoid the terrors he’s sure lies behind it. Everyone in his life tells him not to worry about it, but none of them are taking this new outbreak seriously—something the news is calling “COVID-19.”

"So You Want to Kiss Your Nemesis" at Lightspeed Magazine

The Intimate Blade is a unique blacksmith shop. They sell the weapons you’ll need to propose to that special nemesis in your life—to win the duel, and maybe tip their chin up with the tip so they have to look you in the eyes. They’ve just gotten a new customer in dire need of help.

"Irresponsibly Human" at Small Wonders

For their senior thesis project, an alien student plans to conquer the planet Earth. They view this planet as backwards and ridiculous—come on, social media is still legal there—but they run into more problems than they expected. Especially with how delicious their new humanoid form is.

"The Three O'clock Dragon" at Tordotcom

Liza is the only dragon in Prosperity City, a long scaly creature who rules the rails. It’s a good life, if a lonely one. It’d be better if the military stopped hunting her. Soon Liza gets an idea: if she runs for mayor, she can call off the military goons. She quickly learns the current mayor has more enemies than just a dragon.

So which is your favorite? Has something from one of these stories stuck with you the longest? I’m always curious how this sort of thing breaks down.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

New story day: The Three O'clock Dragon at Tordotcom

It’s a new story day! My short story “The Three O’clockDragon” is live and free to read on Tordotcom.

“The Three O’clock Dragon” follows Liza, who is your average, mild-mannered half-mile-long dragon, who lives on the city’s rail system. These metro tunnels make great lairs. The mayor spends no expense trying to kill her off, and she’s frankly exasperated with all the paramilitary assaults. So she’s got a plan: she’s running for mayor, to kick the current jerk out.

She can’t do it alone. As she starts to open up to other city dwellers, she might even make some friends. Certainly there’s no shortage of commuters who’d like a ride on the dragon.

“The Three O’clock Dragon” is my second story at Tordotcom, following last year’s smash hit “D.I.Y.” It’s been a pleasure to work once again with the great editor Jonathan Strahan, who helped this story find its final form.

You read this story for free by clicking right here.

I’m excited to see what y’all think of Liza. Would you vote for a dragon?

Monday, July 10, 2023

New Story: So You Want to Kiss Your Nemesis

 I’m proud to share my first-ever story in Lightspeed Magazine: “So You Want to Kiss Your Nemesis.” 

You can read it for free right here. 

“So You Want to Kiss Your Nemesis” is a flash fiction story about an unusual kind of romantic supply store. Do you absolute detest someone who is frustratingly hot? Well, the Intimate Blade sells the weapons you need to propose to that special arch-enemy in your life. It’s an engagement ring store, but they sell swords.

It’s such a pleasure to bring this zany little gem into the world. I hope it brightens your day.

Lightspeed Magazine is an award-winning magazine that I’ve wanted to publish in for years. They’ve published works by luminaries like Ken Liu, An Owomoyela, Peter Watts, Yoon Ha Lee, Jack McDevitt, Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, and Catherynne M. Valente, among numerous others. Breaking into this magazine was a bucket list goal for me, and learning they wanted this particular story made my day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

New Fiction: "Bad Doors" at Uncanny Magazine

It's New Story Day! "Bad Doors" is live at Uncanny Magazine.

Kosmo is a simple English teacher with no interest in evil magic doors. However one day they take an interest in him. A burgundy door with a shiny black knob appears in his hallway, where no door has ever been.

Kosmo does what he thinks anybody would do: he grabs his dog, runs out of his house, and never goes back in. He thinks it’s over, but the door isn’t finished with him, as they pursue him everywhere he goes. They beckon old Kosmo. He struggles with why they’re appearing, but refuses to ever look inside one. Everyone in his life chides him to be adventurous and not be so afraid. However, this is 2020 and it’s the same time when everyone around him isn’t taking this “COVID thing” seriously. What’s a man to do to dodge a cursed door and a pandemic?

“Bad Doors” is the story of a man who refuses to be in a Horror story. What happens to you when you refuse to answer the call of a nightmare?

“Bad Doors” is free to read right here on Uncanny Magazine’s website.

This one is for everybody who thinks they'd just walk out of a Horror story. For people who'd say, "Nah."

Friday, December 16, 2022

All the Short Stories That I Published in 2022

I've never had a year like 2022. This is the year I won a Locus Award, got an agent, and sold my debut novel. It's a year where I broke into so many magazines that were but distant dreams to me a few years ago. I've connected with more readers than ever, and every message from them has brightened my days and nights.

As a reflection on the year that was, I'm doing a round-up of every short story of mine that saw print. We'll start with the originals, and then collect the reprints. There's something for everyone here, from plucky kids who dream of learning magic they can't afford, to friendly wagers over time travel, to tyrants who control the world through psychic popularity, to the last man in a cold solar system building something nobody dreamed possible.

Thanks to the editors, most of these stories are free to read. A few even have free podcast audiobook editions. Please, enjoy a fiction or two!

If you have a favorite of these, which was it? I'm terribly curious.


Saturday, October 29, 2022

Announcing My Debut Novel: SOMEONE YOU CAN BUILD A NEST IN

I have some huge news to share with y'all. It is my great pleasure to announce that I've sold my debut novel, SOMEONE YOU CAN BUILD A NEST IN, to Katie Hoffman at DAW Books. In fact Katie liked it so much that she signed me to a two-book deal. We're making books, my friends!

I've been honing my craft at novels for years, finding ways to pack them with the same kinds of warmheartedness and weirdness that make my short stories come alive. This first book is one of my favorite things I've ever written. SOMEONE YOU CAN BUILD A NEST IN is an entire novel about how hard it is to be a monster in a world full of monarchs and monster slayers.

So what is this novel about? Here's a taste.

Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she’s fallen in love.

Shesheshen is a shapeshifting monster who happily resides as an amorphous lump in the swamp stink at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is occasionally interrupted by impolite monster hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body fit for devouring by reabsorbing the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, a bear trap for lungs—and for an extra mouth.
However, a particularly resourceful party of hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. She’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside out. But as they grow close, she realizes humans don’t think about love that way.
Shesheshen hates keeping her identity secret from Homily, but just as she’s about to confess, Homily reveals why she’s in the area: she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?
Eating her girlfriend isn’t an option. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give herself and Homily a chance at happiness, she must figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with, rather than in, the love of her life.

SOMEONE YOU CAN BUILD A NEST IN is due out Spring 2024. In the time between now and release, I'm looking forward to sharing a lot more about this book via my Patreon. This is the next step of my career and I couldn't be more excited. 

To head off one question: no, this is not the end of my writing short stories. In fact I'm working on a new short story in another window right now. I have several shorts out on submission today, and I have a couple more shorts I'm desperate to finish before the end of the year. I can't imagine a time when I won't love short stories.

But ever since I was a bedridden kid who was kept alive by the power of novels, I've wanted to write them myself. We're going to make the world a better place for us weirdos. Thank you all so much for joining me in this ride.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

New Fiction: "D.I.Y." at

Today I am proud to present my first-ever Tordotcom short story: "D.I.Y."! 

Noah Byrne is a disabled boy who always wanted to go to wizarding school--but his medical debt meant he couldn't afford it and they turned him away. But Noah never gave up on the dream. Together with another disabled kid, Manny, Noah has pursued forbidden knowledge about water magic to address his city's drought. What they'll learn together is going to change the accessibility of magic forever.

You can read "D.I.Y." for free by clicking right here. 

As you'd guess, "D.I.Y." is a profoundly personal story. It's one of my deepest representations of disabilities, and about bonds between people with different disabilities. It tackles ableism, questioning and queerness, how the internet changes education, the foibles of capitalism, and the undying spirit of fandom.

This is my first story at Tordotcom. I've longed to share fiction there for a decade now. I'm grateful to the wise Jonathan Strahan for accepting and editing this story with me--it's a cleaner tale for his help. It actually took me years to figure out Noah's story, and along the way I got support and help from wonderful people including A.T. Greenblatt, Their Highness Williams, Effie Seiberg, Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, C.L. Polk, and Marissa Lingen. Just like Noah's journey, my journey has never been a solitary one. I'm so grateful to my friends for keeping me alive.

 You can read the story today at

Monday, August 15, 2022

New Fiction: "Demonic Invasion or Placebo Effect?" at Sunday Morning Transport

Today I'm happy to share a brand new story with you all: "Demonic Invasion or Placebo Effect?" 

It follows a pair of demon scientists who are out to prove a controversial hypothesis: demons are not creations of the human imagination. They've isolated an entire town and intend to stimulate as much Satanic panic as it takes in order to prove demons don't sprout into being just because people believe in them. Demons love a little human experimentation. But as things start to go haywire around the old infernal lab, the demons themselves will have to question their faith--or at least question their control group.

You can read "Demonic Invasion or Placebo Effect?" for free by clicking right here. 

It's the kind of story that my high school teachers told me to quit. But some things stick with a boy!

Sunday Morning Transport is an upstart magazine that's venturing into publishing through Substack. They've published great SciFi and Fantasy writers such as Katherine Addison, Sarah Gailey,  Yoon Ha Lee, and Maurice Broaddus. I was honored to be asked to join their ranks.

I was also a little surprised they accepted my gonzo story. It is one of those things I cooked up on a painful late night, unable to sleep due to disabilities, and weaving narrative to keep my spirits kindled. It is equal parts Horror and Comedy - equal parts Theology and Science Procedural.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

New Fiction: "The Coward Who Stole God's Name" at Uncanny Magazine

Today I'm happy to present to you my newest short story: "The Coward Who Stole God's Name." 

It's a story about the most popular man in the world - even though nobody can actually remember why they like him. He's summoned one special journalist to his home to reveal his secret.

But a warning: that secret will get inside your head.

It's a story written out of the many cultural betrayals we've had over the years, and out of the cultural struggles with authority failing us, as well as the tides of toxic fandom. There's quite a stew in this little journalist's journey. I hope you'll enjoy it.

I want to give special thanks to Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, who test read this after I wrote it in a white heat of anger. Merc is such a good influence.

Content warnings: psychological manipulation, contemplation of self-harm, contemplation of animal cruelty, and violent crowds.

Patrons may remember they got a sneak peak at this story a while back.
Now the full text is free to read on Uncanny's website. You can read it by clicking right here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Balticon 2022 Schedule

Greetings! This coming weekend I'll be participating in Balticon, a regional convention hosted in Baltimore, Maryland. It runs from Friday, May 27th through Monday, May 30th.

Due to the pandemic many of their program items will be available to watch live on their website. So I'll be sitting in New York digging into some meaty topics with some fellow authors over the internet. Perhaps you'll come join us?

Here is my schedule:

Monday, April 4, 2022

"Too Little, Too Little, Too Much" published at Cossmass Infinities

Today I'm proud to share with you my newest short story: "Too Little, Too Little, Too Much."

Fires have been starting around this little family's house. Nobody knows exactly why, although the youngest son has an inkling. It has to do with what his older brother is doing to him when nobody's around - and perhaps with what their father is doing in secret. But nobody wants to confront what's actually happening, and what they're doing to each other. If they keep this up, something is going to burn.

Let me tell you upfront: this story is harsher than my usual fare. It's about the cycles of child abuse, and examines both the toll of such events and why they happen. It only gets more intense as one of the boys develops pyrokinesis.

Often my goal is to shine kindness or general light into harsh situations. In this one, I endeavored to shine empathy - compassion for children in the cycle, without softening or erasing. That's why it's identifiable one of my stories, but also why it's among the most intense.

I'd love to hear your responses to this one. You can read it for free right at this link.

Friday, April 1, 2022

"The Tentacle and You" at Pseudopod

Greetings friends and fellow conspirators! It's about to be a very busy series of months, with a series of story publications, convention appearances, and wild announcements. And it all starts today.

It starts with the return of one of my quirkiest stories: "The Tentacle and You." This little story is like if a TV pitchman was trying to sell you on alien parasites living in your body. It's going to be the next big thing!

"The Tentacle and You" walks the line between humor and Horror, and as such is one of my favorite stories to perform. That's why it's so great to hear this story as part of Pseudopod's podcast. Owen Duffy provides a chipper interpretation of my tentacled marketer.
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